Regardless of how a project team gets assigned, the project manager needs to make sure that the team members have the right skills to complete their assigned tasks. In fact, if the team members do not have all the right skills and the project manager cannot help them acquire the skills, the project would appear to be at risk.
This does not always mean sending a person to class. There are many other learning events that can help, including:

Magazines. Every field and industry has specialty magazines. Many of these magazines are free or available for a nominal cost.

Books. Books are similar to magazines except that they generally go into much greater detail describing new thinking and ideas. (In fact, click here for a free project management e-book.)

Seminars and webinars. Companies are always sponsoring seminars (in person) and webinars (on the web). Many of these events are free. It just takes some of your time to attend, but they typically only last from an hour up to a day.

Mentoring. Mentoring involves a transfer of advice from a person that has experience (mentor) to one that is learning. A team member can meet on an ongoing basis with a mentor to discuss situations the team member is facing and how the mentor may have handled a similar situation in the past. These could be situations where the team member can learn technical skills, business skills, office politics or any area where information can be shared. Most people love talking about what they do and are glad to comply.

Self-teach classes and Computer-Based Training (CBTs). Most companies have computer-based training or videos available for employees to utilize. They can be a good alternative to formal classroom training since you can review them at your convenience and at your own pace. You can also find many e-classes on the Internet at inexpensive prices.

Other. There are other opportunities for personal development. People just need to use their imagination. These include joining professional associations, internet training, attending night classes, listening to speakers at your local college, distance learning, etc.

Of course, you should not forget formal training classes. Sometimes they are the best option if the skills learned can be applied directly to your project today. However, don’t think that this is the only way that training can occur.

There are usually other effective ways as well, depending on the skill to be learned. The key to good training, in whatever form, is being able to apply the training on your project soon after you have learned the new skills.

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